By Janet McAfee
Spaying or neutering your cat and dog is a wonderful gift you can provide your pet, your family, and your community. These minor surgical procedures not only prevent medical and behavioral problems in your pet, but they also help save the lives of homeless animals that languish in shelters and roam our neighborhoods as strays. Not convinced yet? What are some of the reasons why you should spay or neuter?
- Your female pet will live a longer and healthier life – Spaying helps prevent uterine infections, uterine cancer, and breast cancer which are often fatal conditions in female animals.
- Neutering provides major health benefits for your male pet– In addition to prevent him from dangerous neighborhood roaming, neutering prevents testicular cancer in male cats and dogs.
- Spaying prevents heat cycle problems – The loud screeching of a female cat in heat can disturb your comfort and become a neighborhood nuisance. Blood stains on your carpet and outdoor patio create more problems. Neutering ends the problem of male cats spraying, particularly if done at an early age.
- Neutering prevents roaming and fight related injuries – One of the primary reasons male pets are lost, hit by cars, or end up in shelters is their tendency to escape when they smell a female animal in heat. They may end up in fighting with competing males, and you will have an expensive vet bill.
- Neutering reduces aggression and biting from male dogs – Approximately 90% of dog bites are from unneutered male dogs.
- Unneutered dogs habitually escape – One of the biggest reasons why dogs escape from homes, jumping fences and running loose, is the failure of their owners to get them neutered.
- There are not enough homes, and animals pay the ultimate price – For every human born in the United States, there are 15 dogs born and 45 cats born! We cannot adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation crisis.
- Animals suffer and die in our public shelters – There are approximately 2,000 dogs and cats euthanized in America’s public shelters EVERY DAY. Most of these are healthy and adoptable animals whose only crime is being homeless.
- Taxpayers foot the bill for too many homeless animals – Depending on the jurisdiction, it costs California taxpayers over $400 for our local governments to capture, house, care for, and sometimes euthanize ONE unwanted animal. Public shelters do not have the staff to provide 24-hr bottle feeding for orphan litters of underage kittens and puppies, and these tiny creatures may be euthanized unless a foster home is found.
- The human toll from shelter euthanasia – Public shelter workers must cope with the horrendous job duty of euthanizing pets that are not reclaimed or adopted. This can be very traumatic when a shelter employee has to end the life of an animal they’ve spent days caring for and getting to know. The majority of shelter employees do their best to help their animals get adopted, but an irresponsible public that discards pets for trivial reasons and carelessly breeds more animals makes their job overwhelming.
The unintended consequence of your finding homes for a litter of 10 puppies your dog produced may mean 10 homeless shelter dogs don’t get their second chance home. Letting your pet produce offspring so your children can learn about the miracle of birth is not a good idea when so many unwanted litters end up in shelters. Get a video to show your children about birth!
One reason folks do not sterilize their pets is the high cost of the procedure at some private veterinarians. Call your local shelter or private rescue organization for referrals. Low cost spay and neuter services are available in most communities. The www.aspca.org website has links where you can find services. The Animal Action League, www.animalactionleague.org operates a low cost spay/neuter mobile unit in the Coachella Valley, the Joshua Tree desert region, and in Banning. Call the Animal Action League for an appointment at (760) 366-1100.
Spaying and neutering is the key to NO MORE HOMELESS PETS!